NORMAN — When asked what it felt like to play again, Sam Bradford couldn’t hold back the smile.
"Extremely gratifying,” he said, then cracked a grin. "Just to be out there with the guys. ... just the simple things like handoffs, everything out there.
With a spectacular comeback performance, Oklahoma’s Heisman quarterback has the Sooners smiling again, too, following Saturday’s 33-7 victory over Baylor.
"To have been off as much as he has and to go out there for his first go at it and to play as well as he did, I thought he played great,” coach Bob Stoops said. "But he will only get better from this.”
So much for a bum shoulder.
Bradford, who suffered a third-degree separation in his throwing shoulder during the season opener, missed OU’s last three games and only resumed heavy throwing two weeks ago.
The first week, his shoulder couldn’t withstand the strain. This time, it did, though not even Bradford was certain how the shoulder would respond to the rigors of an entire game.
"I think that’s something we were all curious about around here,” he said. "How I would react to 3½ to 4 hours in my pads. On and off, not throwing the whole time, kind of sitting on the bench, coming back, then making some throws.”
To preserve arm strength, Bradford didn’t start warming up until about 40 minutes before kickoff. But even after throwing 49 passes, tied for the second-most in his career, Bradford’s shoulder held up fine.
"I felt good the way my arm responded,” said Bradford, who completed 27 passes for 389 yards and a touchdown.